Free Lunches for Kids in Barre During Summer Months


In Vermont, if more than 50% of students in a town receive subsidized meals during the school year, a community can hold "open-sites" in the summer to provide free meals to kids.

"On a really busy day, we will serve maybe 30 meals down here."

Stephanie Quaranta spends her afternoons making sure kids at the city pool in Barre receive a healthy meal.

"A lot of youngsters have lunches during the school year and school vacation time, but this makes sure we continue with good nutrition."

It's all part of a summer meal program that allows any child under 18 to have access to lunch, no questions asked.

"I think there are some children that, that is their only meal of the day."

During the school year in Barre, 63% of students receive subsidized lunches, which qualifies the community to offer "open sites" in the summer months to serve meals.

"We just want them to have a nutritious meal that they don't get if they're not in school."

George Mackey is the director of the Barre schools food service program. Last year, he served about 18,000 meals.

"We are looking to do more than that number this year because we know the need is out there. We are only meeting a small percentage of the kids we serve during school."

Monday through Friday, Mackey and his five person crew prepare almost 400 fresh meals every day.

"I know which kids, whether they be five years old, or 16 years old, come in hungry."

This program is not only for students who receive meals during the school year, but any child under 18 in Barre can visit the city pool and the city's library to get lunch.

The free summer lunch program runs through August 16.

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